On this day in 2000, the last original Peanuts comic strip appears in newspapers, one day after the death of Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz. Since October 2nd, 1950 to February 13th, 2000, the Peanuts ran in newspapers all over the world, with an estimated readership of 355 million in 75 countries, in 2600 newspapers and in 21 different languages. By February 13th, 2000, 17897 Peanuts comic strips had been published, and remains the most popular comic of all time.
By 2000, Charles M. Schulz had been producing Peanuts comics for almost 50 years. He had decided that he had to retire as a cartoonist due to failing health from colon cancer. There had been discussion of continuing on the Peanuts comics after Schulz’s retirement, however Schulz had written in his will that in order to keep the Peanuts characters as authentic as possible, no further Peanuts comics be produced after his death. By January 3rd, the last daily (weekday) comic had been printed, leaving five more Sunday Peanuts comics left to be released. On February 12th, Charles M. Schulz passed away at his home in Santa Rosa, California at the age of 77. The day after, on February 13th, the last Peanuts comic strip was released, as scheduled. Interestingly, Schulz had predicted that his comic strip would outlive him, given the fact that the comic strips he drew were done weeks in advance of publication.
The last Peanuts comic (see above) features Snoopy sitting on top of his doghouse with a typewriter, pondering the following last words of Charles M. Schulz to his readers:
I have been fortunate to draw Charlie Brown and his friends for almost fifty years. It has been the fulfillment of my childhood ambition.
Unfortunately, I am no longer able to maintain the schedule demanded by a daily comic strip. My family does not wish “Peanuts” to be continued by anyone else, therefore I am announcing my retirement.
I have been grateful over the years for the loyalty of our editors and the wonderful support and love expressed to me by fans of the comic strip.
Charlie Brown, Snoopy, Linus, Lucy… how can I ever forget them…
— Charles M. Schulz
In the week following Schulz’s death, several cartoonists released tribute comics to both Schulz and the Peanuts. Since Schulz’s death, reruns (no pun intended) of the Peanuts comics continue to run in newspapers worldwide. New television specials have appeared as well, based upon published Peanuts comic strips.